Alright, this is my first post ever at this place, and I like what I see so far, so I'm gonna post my Syberia review. Unlike the rest, this one is for the XBox:
"Good morning. My name is Kate. What's yours?"
The adventure genre is on life support. Since the mid 90's, the genre has been in slow decline. New games in the genre came out, including some classics like Grim Fandango and The Longest Journey. Unfortunately, it's been all down hill from there. Then, in May of 2004, what seemed like the final nail was struck when Lucasarts canceled Sam & Max: Freelance Police and Full Throttle: Hell On Wheels; two sequels for two of the greatest adventure games of all time. Yes, the adventure die-hards have fallen of hard times.
But in this heavy drought, there has been one true bright spot: the Syberia games. The 2 part adventure of Kate Walker started in September of 2002, and was the last hit the genre had. This success prompted a port of the game to the XBox, and made this adventure gamer without a good computer very happy. It's just great to see a adventure game on a console. This genre doesn't need to be PC exclusive. Games like Escape From Monkey Island and Broken Sword III turned out great on the consoles. MI IV was in a lot of ways better on the PS2 then it was on the PC. Seeing a adventure game for my gaming platform of choice warmed my heart, so I bought it, got about half way through it, let it pick up some dust, and picked it up again about two months ago and got 3/4 of the way through it.
13 months ago, Syberia II was released, and Unfortunately, didn't get the same critical or commercial success of the original. Thankfully, this didn't stop it from being ported to the XBox (Microids attempted to bring it to the PS2, but SCEA didn't want to be bothered with it. Whatever, their loss). Seeing it on sale for $9.99, I promptly bought it. This motivated me to finally beat Syberia, and now that I have, i'm currently working on Syberia II, and have decided to write this review.
"So where can I find this Hans?"
Kate Walker is your average New York City lawyer. She has friends, a fiancee, a real jerk for a boss and a crazy mother who likes to gossip. Her firm has recently been hired by the Universal toy company to finalize the purchase of a french toy company that specializes in robots called the Voralberg Automaton factory, and they have sent you to get some papers signed. unfortunately, the head of the company died on your way there leaving all the company's assets to her mentally challenged brother, Hans. Even worse, nobody has any idea where he is. An so sets in motion a wild goose chase throughout eastern Europe to find Hans and get him to sign the release papers so she can go home.
It sounds pretty generic, but it makes it's story extraordinary by having incredible settings, atmosphere, and the fantastic cast of characters. It's set in eastern Europe, and that's different because eastern Europe is a place that isn't really explored that much in games. Everything has drab colors, but in a good way. It really helps keep the illusion that you aint in New York anymore. Since this isn't the most technologically advanced place on the planet, everything is old fashioned with lots of cranks, buttons, wheels, and wind-ups. The whole world feels like Rube Goldberg's version of heaven. But what makes this game truly stand out is the truly great cast of characters rife with personality. My favorite is defiantly Oscar. Oscar is the Automaton that runs the train you will be riding around in for alot of the game. He does everything by the books, and refuses to do anything otherwise, but always has something witty to say about human behavior. He's kinda like HK-47 from KOTOR, but less of a jerk.
Syberia's story is rich, and one of the better stories in gaming in the last few years. Unfortunatly, it has one flaw: It's 50% of the story. Syberia II is not a sequel, it's Syberia part II. I expected it to cut off abruptly, but I still didn't like it. Other then that, this is one fantastic story.
9 out of 10
"*gasp* My voice! She has returned!"
When you're trying to immerse the player in the world you've created, music and sound design can really make or break what you're trying to accomplish. Thankfully Syberia is really up to the challenge. Syberia's music is done in the same style of the game's setting. In other words, it very haunting and moody. It's fully orchestrated, and it really helps to set the mood. The music is really top notch.
The sound is a little under the music quality wise, but is great nevertheless. First off, every character in the game is fully voice acted, so there's bound to be some spotty spots, and sure enough there are. The main character's are good for the most part, but most of the minor characters are pretty pedestrian. They're all wooden, and sound like they were done by about 5 people. The voice work is saved by strong performances from Kate and Oscar, and the voices are not bad enough to be considered bad, but you just wish it was better.
The rest of the sounds are good. Thankfully there's more then one footstep sound, which is something that drives me insane, and the rest of the sounds are very good, but not outstanding.
8.5 out of 10
"What a beautiful campus you have here"
The graphics are, in a word: Beautiful. It's not a technical model, but the whole game is such an absolute joy to look at, and the art design team really needs to get some props for the astonishing beauty that this game beholds. Basically, it's alot like Resident Evil: Incredible pre rendered backgrounds with very detailed character models. This is some of the prettiest Pre Rendered scenery I've ever seen in a game. It has such an attention to detail. Everything has been done to make that game look beautiful. Once again, the art design takes you into this incredible world, and XS games has really done a fantastic job.
If that wasn't enough, the Character models are very well done. They animate very well, but their mouths don't move, which is a pet peeve of mine. Also, the FMV sequences are absolutely beautiful. Overall, this games art style elevates it to one of the best looking adventure games of all time.
10 OUT OF 10
"maybe this will work on that machine!"
This game is just like most other Adventure games ever made, which is both it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness. Basically you control Kate through large area's where you pick up blank, give it to blank who tells you how to blank, but there's a problem because the blank is missing a blank, and you need to find blank to blank. So, there's nothing new here. It's not innovative, but that's the point: It's refreshing to see an adventure game like this. I knew what I was getting into, but I didn't care because I just wanted to play a good ol' fashioned adventure game.
Unfortunatly, there's a problem: The control. The PC version of Syberia is a Point & click adventure, but the XBox version is basically Resident Evil without zombies. You use the analog stick to move your character like a tank, and have to hold down the X button to run. Kate doesn't turn around very fast, gets stuck on walls, and is overall a little difficult to control. Once more, since you have to position yourself to select something, it can be frustrating to get Kate to be in the right position to get the item. Also, for some reason, you can't just move into the next area. You have to walk onto the right pixel to go to the next location. The control's are annoying, but not enough to ruin the item collecting fun.
So, it's old fashioned Adventure gaming hampered a little by difficult control.
8 Out Of 10
"I have not left this place in many years, my child."
If Syberia has one fault, it's re-playability. Syberia is of average length for an adventure game: About 20-25 hours for Adventure n00b's and 12-18 for vets like me. unfortunately, it falls under the crutch most adventure games have: Once you beat it, that's it. There's nothing other the want to play it again to make you go through it again. Re-playability has always been a problem with this genre, and Syberia isn't any different.
6 Out Of 10
So, which Syberia should you buy: The XBox or the PC version? Well, I might be in the minority here, but I would go with the XBox version. It might have a few control issues, but once you get used to it, it's smooth sailing. What makes the XBox version special for me is how incredibly immersive it is. This game is much better on a big TV screen and Dolby Digital 5.1 in a comphy chair then hunched over on a computer on a small screen with 2 speakers. If you have a good hoime theatre setup, then I say you should go with the XBox version.
Simply put: They don't make 'em like this anymore. If you've been craving some console adventure action, you probably already own this. If not, go find it. You can probably get it for all of $10.00. If you wanna try something new, or wanna support a dying genre, I beg you to do the adventure die hard a favor and pick this up. Who knows, you might like it.
Overall: 8.5 Out Of 10
+An adventure game for consoles!
-Doesn't really do anything new
-VO is a little shaky
-control could be better
Bottom Line: Buy It .
We should be able to use images...